Sunday, March 18, 2012

Native Americans Wait Years For a Single Eagle Feather; Wind Farms ... Not So Long

While viewing the following video, remember: wind farms have a license to kill migratory birds, including bald eagles and whooping cranes.

Outrage over native Americans given license to kill two bald eagles
The Billings Gazette has several stories on eagles and native Americans. If interested, follow the link. It's the same old story, about how only native Americans can have the feathers of eagles, etc., and how it's a long wait to get them through the repository and  how it's illegal to kill them, etc. Somewhere I believe one of the articles said there were now 10,000 pair of bald eagles in the US now, compared with 417 pair in 1963.
And then this obligatory paragraph:
Eagles can't be killed legally and their parts can't be sold, transported, traded, imported or exported. Even possession of post-Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act eagle parts requires a permit. Eagle parts can be handed down through families or given to other Native Americans for religious purposes. They can't be given to a non-Indian.
I don't know where this stands now, nor exactly how the law reads or will read, but it is pretty much understood that wind farm promoters have a license to kill eagles. No one will be held accountable for deaths of bald eagles (or other migratory and protected birds, such as whooping cranes) due to wind turbines.

No one will ever know how many eagles and other migratory birds will be killed by wind turbines; the carcasses will be picked up by scavengers.

I don't know if the links will last very long; in the big scheme of things, it no longer matters. The Federal bureaucracy has sided with the faux-environmentalists and against the eagles. It no longer makes sense to ban native Americans from killing bald eagles; my hunch is they would protect the sacred bald eagle with more seriousness and more compassion than the wind farm promoters.

And so it goes.

Oh, that's it. I was trying to remember why I even decided to post this "old" story. Now I remember. I didn't read every last word in the several articles at the link above, but a quick look suggested that "wind turbine" was not mentioned once in any of the articles.

Bakken Housing Crunch Spreading East Across the State -- North Dakota, USA

Link to Bismarck Tribune here.
Outside of Grand Forks, vacant apartments [in the state of North Dakota] are almost nonexistent. He said the vacancy rate in Williston and Minot is zero. In Dickinson it’s half a percent and in Bismarck it’s 1 percent. Even in Fargo the rate is low, at less than 4 percent. Between 5 and 8 percent is considered healthy.

Carbone said people are coming to North Dakota thinking it’s a land of opportunity but many of them are unprepared for the housing crunch.
Lots of comments could be made, starting with temporary housing.

I remember about nine months ago one of the oil companies, it might have been BEXP, asked the county for permission to simply add a few more temporary units to the land it already had set aside for such units. The county said no. Williams County has put a moratorium on new temporary housing.

Futures ... For Investors Only

Of course, futures don't mean a thing this early, but it's nice to see both the market up (slightly) and oil up (slightly -- 33 cents).

Good luck to all.

More Good News for Domestic Natural Gas Industry?

Chevron says hopes for China natural gas industry may not be forthcoming any time soon; making decision on whether to increase exploration outside North America.
Shale gas projects in Europe and China are not guaranteed to succeed and may not come into first production until the next decade, Chevron, the US oil and gas group, has warned.

George Kirkland, Chevron’s head of oil and gas production, told the Financial Times that it would be three to five years before the company could decide whether it would be worth starting up any shale projects outside America, and late this decade or early next before it could be producing gas.

“We had tremendous data in the US and Canada, and we frankly just don’t have that kind of data around the world. There’s a huge catch-up in knowledge and data that’s got to happen.”
I blogged early on that the data the oil companies had in the Williston Basin was one of the reasons for the "seemingly overnight"success of the Bakken boom.

In same article linked above, XOM's exploratory wells in Poland were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, a nice article from the American Thinker sent by Dennis. 

New Poll: Will the US Release Oil From the SPR This Summer?


Later: a reader sent me this interesting MSNBC report -- Tapping Petroleum Reserve Has Gotten Trickier. Comment: the article had a lot of twists and turns. I think the headline is inaccurate. Tapping the reserve is as easy as the president picking up the phone and saying "tap the reserve." What has gotten more difficult are several things: a) people see this as a political move, right or wrong; b) deciding how much to release; and, c) whether the release will even do much good in lowering gasoline prices in time to make a difference before the election.
On Thursday, prices fell by as much as $3 a barrel after Reuters reported that Britain was set to agree to release stockpiles together with the United States later this year. U.K. officials said the timing and details of the release would be worked out prior to the summer, when prices often peak.
This is the first I've heard that the decision has been made: to release the oil from the SPR. Only the timing and details are yet to be worked out. I guess that spoils the poll at the sidebar at the right. By the way, I was following the TV crawler pretty closely on Friday and I saw the price drop on the announcement, but I do not recall the drop as much as $3.00. It recovered to less than a $2.00 drop even before the initial announcement was discounted. 

I wonder if CNBC will correct that tomorrow morning, or explain to the American public that the decision has been made to release oil from the SPR; only the timing and details need to be worked out.

Original Poll

Poll results:
Results of the most recent poll: With 10,000 man-camp beds, 12 new motels, and new housing, is there enough housing in Williams County to meet the needs of the boom?

Overwhelmingly, 60% said "more housing desperately needed."

Another 20% thought there was not enough housing, but getting close. That's where I would have put my check mark. Based on recent data, I would have been wrong.

8%: Yes, we are close to overbuilding.
9%: Yes, but just barely.

Numbers rounded.

Most recent information coming out of the Bakken suggests that much more housing is needed.
New poll:
This past week a very interesting story was reported: the Brits and Obama had agreed to release oil from oil from strategic petroleum reserves. Moments later, and literally it was moments later, the story was found to be untrue. The White House said there was no truth to the story. This raises the obvious question: do you think the White House will release oil from the SPR sometime between now and the election in November?

My hunch is that an agreement has been made between Great Britain and the US with regard to thresholds. There is a better than 50-50 chance, in my mind, that oil will be released from the SPR. Most likely: if the national average for the price of gasoline hits $5.00/gallon during July or August, the president will have no choice but to do something. And it won't make a difference.

Most Prescient Operator in the Bakken? Two, Actually

Random Top Ten

1. Most prescient: Harold Hamm, of course, cannot be outdone for his prescient views on the Bakken.

2. Second most prescient: ONEOK

3. Best example of a company in the Bakken re-defining itself: Enbridge

4. Luckiest guy in the world (with ties to the Bakken): Warren Buffett

5. Most spectacular example of rebirth of a ghost town: Dore, North Dakota

6. Best location for new truck stop: two miles south of Alexander, North Dakota

7. Worst weather forecaster: those fuzzy little caterpillars last autumn that predicted another horrendous winter in the Bakken

8. Possibly Whiting's bet on the Three Forks in southwest North Dakota; was the Pronghorn Sand discovery the result of great scientific work or just plain lucky?

9. Original oil in place (OOIP): early on, it was "courageous" to suggest 150 billion; then, it became acceptable to make business decisions based on 300 billion; now (late 2011), some are suggesting 900 billion. 

More to follow.

More on these later, perhaps, and if I remember.

Week 11: March 11 -- March 17, 2012

US oil imports from Saudi Arabia quietly increased by 25% this time last year -- perhaps biggest story of the year so far

$4 billion/month pouring into western North Dakota

Whiting and the Scallion ("false Bakken")

OXY USA and Anschutz: a tale of two drillers

Silver Oak and the Red River B

Deeper look at some recent Bakken wells

Some monster Tyler wells -- the Williston Basin

MDU (Fidelity): new production record; acquires more Bakken acreage

Update on Fidelity wells since 2010

Trends: impact of the Bakken

Some great photos of the Bakken

Minnesota: Mecca for fracking sand

Obama to release oil from the SPR

US Senate to end wind subsidies

US gasoline demand increased in February, 2012 -- so much for demand destruction

EPA: no health concerns with first well tests from Dimock, Pennsylvania

52 of 54 nuclear reactors shut down in Japan -- forever

Russia can't keep up

Wolfcamp: another basin to challenge the Williston Basin

New pipeline taking orders: Baker, MT, to Billings, MT

NYT: Just Another $6.00 Blog -- Everything To Do About The Bakken

Before going to the link below, re-acquaint yourself with the last graph of "17 Graphs for the 17th."

OK, so you saw the graph.

Now, read the NYT's Nobel laureate on the subject:
Meanwhile, what about jobs? I have to admit that I started laughing when I saw The Wall Street Journal offering North Dakota as a role model. Yes, the oil boom there has pushed unemployment down to 3.2 percent, but that's only possible because the whole state has fewer residents than metropolitan Albany, N.Y. -- so few residents that adding a few thousand jobs in the state's extractive sector is a really big deal. The comparable-sized fracking boom in Pennsylvania has had hardly any effect on the state's overall employment picture, because, in the end, not that many jobs are involved.

And this tells us that giving the oil companies carte blanche isn't a serious jobs program. Put it this way: Employment in oil and gas extraction has risen more than 50 percent since the middle of the last decade, but that amounts to only 70,000 jobs, around one-twentieth of 1 percent of total U.S. employment. So the idea that drill, baby, drill can cure our jobs deficit is basically a joke.
He fails to mention, that no sustainable jobs were created by a trillion dollars in stimulus.

But back to the Bakken:
  • US steel industry: pipeline, drilling, rigs, 
  • railroad: BNSF (Warren Buffett),
  • housing: developers from Idaho, Colorado, 
  • trucking industry: truck manufacturer in Portland -- additional hiring; extra shift
  • hedge funds, stock brokers: need we say more? 
The Nobel laureate apparently does not realize that the unemployment rate has always been low; not due to oil industry; oil industry is bringing in tens of thousands of workers from other states with high unemployment rates; the joke is that there is no one left in Idaho -- they've all moved to North Dakota.

It would be interesting if the laurel-wearer can come up with one industry outside the oil and gas industry that has done so well providing new jobs in the US.

It certainly isn't the newspaper industry. It would be interesting to see his take on the current status of the US mainstream media.

So much for fact-based journalism in the NYT. Just another blog. Except it will cost you $6.00 for the Sunday edition.

A huge "thank you" to "Popeye" for alerting me to the NYT op-ed piece. As the piece said, "I started laughing when I saw ..."

Random Update on the Bakken -- The Numbers Are Staggering

Play the video while reading some staggering numbers below the video:

North Dakota Bakken Gravel Hauling
The narrative in the video, by the way, may explain why that truck driver was "unable to make it in the Bakken" which was reported about a week ago.

Some interesting data points sent to me by a reader who attended the recent Bakken conference.

Some time last year, it was reported that $1.5 - $2 billion was being poured into western North Dakota, and I've been using that figure for quite some time. Then a few days (weeks?) ago I noted: 200 rigs  --> 200 wells/month x $10 million/well --> $2 billion just for drilling and completing wells. What about all the rest: pipelines, railroads, housing developments, support services, etc?

It turns out that the new number if $4 billion/month. That makes more sense. Think about it. $4 billion/month being poured into four counties in western North Dakota -- Williams, Dunn, Mountrail, and McKenzie, and I wager that Williams and McKenzie are getting the bulk of it.

The industrial park for the Bakken is located 18 miles east of Montana, just north of the Missouri River. It used to be a town called Williston. It's now known as "whoop" as in WOIP -- Williston Oil Industrial Park.

The activity is moving to the heart of the Bakken: northeast McKenzie County. Takeaway capacity turns out to be the chokepoint in the Bakken; maybe more about this later: what it means. What it says about the Bakken.

Other news from the conference: Halliburton had -- repeat, had -- 7,000 job openings last autumn. Apparently that number has jumped to 11,000. I wager half of them will be needed in McKenzie County where the action is headed this summer.

Enbridge has job openings for 135 folks right now; will go to 200 job openings this spring. Enbridge is now doubling the size of their CBR facility at Berthold; it was built last year.

Details sketchy, but apparently a 3,200-acre intermodal railroad facility planned for Minot. It would result in 45 miles of new track. 

A Note to My Granddaughters

My hunch is that when you reach my age, some fifty years from now, you won't recall what a newspaper was. I know you have no idea what a rotary dial telephone is. You have not even heard of the IBM Selectric. I'll let you guess (no it's the name Starbucks coffee). When you are sixty years old, it will be Siri, apps, e-books, and used books.

And used books. 

I often say I would like to be in the Bakken, but when I'm in Boston, I think I prefer to remain here. For now, I want to be wherever you are. But in the bigger scheme of things, I no longer have a preference where I am as long as I have my library. (When I was in my young 20's, I had no preference where I was, as long as I was with my woman friend. She never wanted to be known as a "girl" friend.) But I digress.

Among the books I am reading now, I am particularly enjoying The Diary of H. L. Mencken, edited by Charles A Fecher, c. 1989. I picked up my used copy for $10 at a used book bookstore in Gloucester, Cape Ann, Massachusetts.

Almost every entry is a delight. This one caught my attention this morning:
The enormous proliferation of government agencies has laid so heavy a burden on journalism that it has imply broken down. It is quite impossible for any newspaper, however large, to report the endless proceedings that go on every day.

The National Labor Relations Board alone is sometimes carrying on fifty or sixty at one time -- not all of them, of course, in Washington, but scattered through the country. The newspapers, at the beginning of this riot, tried to cover the principal cases, but they soon found it impossible, and today they only attempt to cover a salient few. It is the same in many other directions.

The Washington correspondents now find it completely impossible to cover the departments -- indeed, they find it almost impossible to cover Congress, what with its endless committees of investigations. When one committee is on the front page, the others are forgotten, though meanwhile they may be carrying on very important work. In brief, the public can no longer find out what is going on. Measures of the first importance are undertaken without any preliminary discussion, and executed without any rational criticism.

Thus the power of the bureaucracy increases constantly, and no scheme to check it seems to be workable. What the end is to be God knows. At the moment, it is certainly plain that government has got out of hand, and that all the old devices for regulating it are hopeless.
And that was written on May 11, 1940.

When you are reading this in 2062, send me an intersteller, after-life, 4th-dimension GPS, tweet to @papaneartheorionbelt and let me know if Apple still has two percent of the desktop market. It will have 99% of the mobile entertainment device (MED) market.

17 Graphs Summarizing Global Fossil Fuel Consumption/Production

"Anon 1" just sent me a most interesting link with 17 graphs summarizing global fossil fuel consumption/production. When you get to the link, you can click on each graph to expand.

I particularly liked the "Employment" graph and the "Chinese Oil Imports vs US Oil Imports."

17 graphs for March 17 -- St Patrick's Day.